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T & L Update

Monthly update from Assistant Superintendent to district faculty and staff.

Spotlight for April 2021

Portrait of a Graduate
During the professional development day on March 19th, a small group of individuals representing the CPDC and NEASC membership met with Jonathan Costa to continue the work on the Portrait of a Graduate that was begun last year. The group finalized the skills and dispositions for Avon’s Portrait of a Graduate. The three skills are Communication & Expression, Collaboration, and Critical & Creative Thinking. And, the two dispositions are Culturally Competent and Independent & Adaptable.  Additionally, the group created definitions for each of the skills and dispositions along with what student evidence and/or reflection might look like.  Based on this work, a call went out to high school student artists and graphic designers to create a visual representation for Avon’s Portrait of a Graduate, which includes these skills and dispositions. The contest ends on April 23rd.

On March 24th, all of the members of NEASC and the department coordinators met to develop the initial draft of the 9-12 rubrics that will be used to assess each skill and disposition. On April 22nd, a K-8 subgroup of the CPDC will meet to create initial drafts of the rubrics for these grade bands.

K-6 Summer Programming
Presently we are in the initial stages of developing a summer program for our current Tier II and Tier III students who are in need of extra support to accelerate their learning in order to facilitate recovery of certain essential knowledge and skills. We are envisioning a four week session that runs from July 6 through July 29 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Each student would have an individualized plan, with goals, and the teacher would meet individually with students for 30 minutes two or three times per week (based on tier), working approximately 4 hours each day. All of the sessions would be held remotely.

In order to assist us with our planning, and how much we can offer, it would be very helpful for us to know who might be interested in working with our students this summer during the timeframe detailed above. If you are a certified teacher or an interventionist and this is something that you are interested in, please complete this short survey by Friday, April 9th. Obviously this is not committing anyone to anything, it is for planning purposes only.

Instructional Minutes
Within the Blueprint for Excellence this year is an action step that is centered on instructional time. Over the course of the last number of years many new classes, programs, initiatives, etc. have been implemented and now is the time for us to pause for a moment to ensure that student learning is being optimized PK-12. While the approach will look a little different for each level, the primary focus will be to determine what are our non-negotiables, what’s working, what’s not, what we might need to let go of, what we might need to explore adding, etc. in relation to instructional minutes, schedules, programs, and whatever else might be revealed in the review. This work has begun and short term goals are being set for the 2021-22 school year and long term goals will be established where necessary for future school years.

Professional Development Artifacts
During the past two professional development days, staff members participated in transferring previous learning to practice sessions. In these sessions, they created classroom instructional resources using previous professional development training they received. The following link will allow you to access some examples of items created by teachers and staff during our January PD day. We will continue to add to this website with more examples created during the March PD sessions and future self-paced PD sessions.

 

Avon Public Schools Professional Development Artifacts

Google Chrome Updates
With upcoming standardized tests, it is extremely important to remind students to fully shut down their school chromebooks after use in order to receive necessary Google updates. If your students are having issues with their devices, please have them check to see if their chromebook needs a manual update by using the following set of directions:  How to Manually Update a Chromebook

It is also important for teachers to make sure that their chrome browser is updated as well. To check for any updates, you can go to chrome://settings/ and choose the option on the left for About Chrome. The browser will normally update manually, but if users notice an issue with Google, checking for an update is the first troubleshooting step to take to see if it fixes the issue.

Calendar of Events
April 5      RBS Grade 2 Writer’s Workshop w/ Gary Peterson  12:30 - 3:30 
April 6      PGS Grades K (PM) & 2 (AM) Writer’s Workshop w/Gary Peterson    
April 22    K-8 Portrait of a Graduate Rubric Development
April 27    CPDC Meeting 3:30 - 4:30 Virtual Meeting
April 30    TBS Grade 6 ELA Teachers Reader’s Workshop w/ Kate Roberts               


Remote Learning Reference Links

Spotlight for March 2021

March 19th Professional Development
The Professional Development and Evaluation Committee (PDEC) met last month to discuss and finalize the offerings for the March 19th Professional Development Day. The day will be structured similarly to the January Professional Development Day. Certified staff will have both required and choice sessions that are either facilitated or self-paced. Intervention tutors and teaching assistants are invited to participate in a full day of choice sessions as desired. Once again, the majority of the offerings are in support of the goals and action steps detailed in the Blueprint for Excellence.  

The day will run from 8:00 am - 3:00 pm. The sessions will be in-person if we are in-school or hybrid at that time and will be held remotely only if the district is fully in remote learning at that time. Below is the link for the certified staff, tutors, and teaching assistants which details the required and choice sessions. The paraeducator catalog will be sent out within the next few days from the Pupil Services Department with a link to register. 

Link to Professional Development Catalog for Certified Staff, Tutors & TAs

Please complete the form linked at the bottom of the catalog by 8:00 am on Wednesday, March 10th indicating your choices.

State Assessments
Preparations for the 2020-21 state assessments are well underway.  This year all students in grades 3-8 will be assessed in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics on the Smarter Balanced Assessment and science will be assessed in grades 5, 8, and 11 on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Assessment.  And, Grade 11 students will be assessed in the areas of English Language Arts and mathematics on the Connecticut School Day SAT.  Avon’s windows for state testing are as follows:
                                        Grade 11 CT School Day SAT:  March 24 (Make-ups April 27, April 28 & May 18)
                                        Grades 5, 8 & 11 NGSS Assessment:  May 17 - May 28
                                        Grades 3-8 Smarter Balanced Assessment:  May 17 - May 28

Google Chrome Updates and New Features
On February 17th, Google announced a variety of new updates and features for schools around the world. As a Google Enterprise district, there are many new updates to Meet, Classroom, and other products that we will receive within the next few months.  Keep an eye out for these much needed and requested changes to the programs that will continue to support your instructional technology needs. Google hosted the Learning with Google event to announce these changes. Feel free to view the video for a better understanding of the updates, as well as hearing inspiring stories from educators from around the world.

ProTraxx Certification Update
Recently, the ProTraxx mid-year certification update was completed.  When you have a moment, please check to ensure that your certification(s) are reflected correctly and review the expiration date(s).  This information can be accessed on ProTraxx by going to My EzTraxx, Reports, and then Staff Profile. It is critical not to let your certification lapse, as you may be subject to new testing and coursework requirements, or lose an endorsement altogether if it becomes obsolete. You can submit an application and fee up to six months prior to the expiration date on your certificate to the State Department of Education. If you have any questions or need any assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Human Resources Department.  

Calendar of Events
March 1        PGS Grades 1 & 4 Writer’s Workshop w/ Gary Peterson     
March 3        TBS Grade 5  Writer’s Workshop w/Gary Peterson    
March 11      TBS Grade 6 Reader’s Workshop w/ Kate Roberts
March 16      RBS Reading Survey
March 18      RBS Reading Survey
March 23      PGS Reading Survey
March 25      PGS Reading Survey
March 30      AHS ELA Teachers Reader’s Workshop w/ Kate Roberts               


Remote Learning Reference Links
APS Website - Blueprint for Reopening 2020-2021
Avon LearnPlatform - list of approved software/subscriptions/resources
Remote Learning Resources for Teachers and Staff - tutorials & helpful hints for remote learning
Remote Technical Training and Support form - request form for specific training & “how to”
Remote Learning Resource Request Form - request form for software or website approval    
Understanding Copyright- a quick teacher & student guide for creativity and copyright
Publishers Adapt Policies to Help Educators- publishers & requirements for recording read alouds
IT Ticket System - request form for hardware and software issues

Spotlight for February 2021

Recruiting for Smarter Balanced Virtual Workshops 
Smarter Balanced is currently recruiting educators for the State Network of Educators (SNE) summer virtual workshops being held on June 14-18 and July 12-16, 2021.  More information is available on the Smarter Balanced web site (https://sne.smartertoolsforteachers.org/recruit/). Certified educators who meet the qualifications can indicate their interest by submitting a RSVP to Smarter Balanced. Those educators who are selected will be contacted directly by Smarter Balanced (https://ucsantacruz.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bdMV0FzbynG7sRD).  Please contact Michelle Rosado at michelle.rosado@ct.gov if you have any questions.

Lt. Governor’s Computing Challenge - “Coding for Good”
On January 25th, Lt. Governor Bysiewicz launched the “Coding for Good” challenge. This challenge is designed to empower students to create solutions that spread positive messages, tackle important issues, and promote healthy habits across our state and communities. Any student in Grades 3-12 is eligible to participate. There is an option for everyone from students with no coding experience to the most advanced.  More information is available on www.ltgovcc.org. if you have students that might be interested.

Screencastify Usage Report and New Submit Feature
During this school year, Avon Public Schools has created over 16,000 videos using Screencastify.  Congratulations to Meg Ryan, Steve Rivoira, Holly Rzonca, and Noam Sturm for being the top video creators for the 2020-2021 school year so far! Feel free to check out the recent monthly usage report for the product: APS Screencastify Usage Report.

Screencastify has a new Submit feature that allows teachers to create assignments in Screencastify and automatically push them out to students in Google Classroom. The following video demonstrates how teachers can use this new feature: Screencastify Submit - Google Classroom Integration. Please note that the assignment must have a due date in order for it to integrate seamlessly with Classroom. This integration allows students to easily access the recording tool without having to open the extension.

If you haven’t tried Screencastify, super easy to get started facilitating video-based learning and making learning more personal. Your license will automatically be upgraded the next time you use the extension - here is a a helpful walkthrough as well. 

Additional Resources for Screencastify

  • 📚 Classroom Resource Page - They have an amazing resource page filled with ideas and inspiration for using video in your classroom. 
  • 🎓 Certification Courses - You can sharpen your screencasting skills with these brief, easy-to-follow courses.
  • 💌 Family Letter - If you would like to let your students’ families know that we will be using Screencastify this year, feel free to update this letter with your contact information and send. 

PDF Reader - TextHelp Tool for PDF Annotation
Remote and hybrid learning has created a difficult situation for assignments that are normally provided in a hard copy format.   Did you know that we have a subscription for teachers and students that allow for annotations on PDFs?  PDF Readers from Texthelp allows users to annotate on PDFs when they are using their school Google account.  In addition, teachers can push out assignments to students through Google Classroom and provide each student their own copy of the PDF to complete.  This tool allows teachers to reduce the number of paper copies that they provide students and they will not need to request for students to print copies of handouts that they need to complete during remote or hybrid learning.  The following link will take you to the technology training website regarding this and many other Texthelp resources available in the district: Texthelp Tools - APS

Calendar of Events

  • February 8     RBS Grades 2 & 4 Writer’s Workshop w/ Gary Peterson     
  • February 9     PGS Grades 1 & 4 Writer’s Workshop w/Gary Peterson    
  • February 11    PGS Grades K & 2 Writer’s Workshop w/ Gary Peterson
  • February 22    RBS Grades K & 1 Writer’s Workshop w/Gary Peterson
  • February 23    PGS & RBS Grade 3 Writer’s Workshop w/ Gary Peterson                

Remote Learning Reference Links

Spotlight for January 2021

January 15th Professional Development
The January 15th Professional Development Day will consist of three hours of choice and three hours of required sessions for all certified staff. For the non-certified staff required to participate in professional development the day will consist of all choice professional development sessions, unless you have been notified to participate in a required training session.  Intervention tutors and teaching assistants are invited to participate in a full day of choice sessions as desired. Thanks to everyone for completing their choices prior to the break so that we could secure the presenters and begin scheduling everyone into the various sessions.  

The required sessions are designed to provide time for grade levels and departments to engage in training or curriculum work.  They are as follows:

  • Writer’s Workshop Grades K-5, Reading Consultants, ESOL Teachers
  • Curriculum Curation Grades 6-12 (Math, Science, Social Studies) and K-12 (World Language)
  • Curriculum Development Grades 6-12 (ELA, School Counseling) and K-12 (Informational Literacy, Performing Arts, Technology Education, Visual Arts, Wellness)
  • SPIRE Training Grades 2-8 Special Education
  • PreSchool Teachers, Social Workers, School Psychologists, Speech and Language Pathologists, OT/PT,  Para-Educators, etc. will receive information from the Pupil Services Department regarding their focus area(s)

As part of the Blueprint for Excellence, one of the instructional focus action steps is to further develop Stage 2 (Assessment Evidence) and Stage 3 (Learning Plans) in Unit Planner with uploaded and/or linked documents for all units of study.  This curation work has not been completed over the last three years, and is an action step that needs to be completed by this spring for a number of reasons. First, our adopted curriculum needs to be current and accessible to all.  Presently this is not the case as Eduplanet, the district’s curriculum warehouse, has not been consistently updated and more resources than not are being stored in personal files, shared google docs and not in the grade level/department shared drives that are linked to the units of study in Eduplanet.  This has resulted in new hires or long term subs not having access to the materials that they need, individuals leaving the district or going on leave and their files being shut off causing others to lose access to the files, etc.  Second, when formal curriculum reviews take place the data points examined to provide findings and to make long-term and short-term curriculum and instructional decisions are hampered with incomplete information available.  And third, this will all need to be in place for the upcoming NEASC visit.  

The sessions will be in-person if we are currently in-school or hybrid at that time and will be held remotely if the district should be remote at that point in time.


LAS Links Assessments and Scheduling 
The LASLinks Assessment testing window opens January 4, 2021 and closes March 31, 2021.  Our ESOL teachers have created a schedule that is designed to test all 55 of our in-person English Learners within the first three weeks of January, or the first 15 school days that we are in-person during this test window.  The test schedules will be shared each Friday (or the last school day of the week) to inform teachers of the potential absence of an English Learner from their classrooms.   We ask for your understanding and flexibility as students will need to miss classroom time to participate in this battery of assessments.  For each English Learner, this untimed assessment takes approximately 2 to 2.5 hours in total.  Please do not penalize students for work missed during the time they are testing.  Remote English Learners, of which there are 38 learning from home, will also be assessed.  A schedule to test remote students following this initial administration of tests will be forthcoming. 
 

Google Status Dashboard 
A new bookmark has been added to the APS bookmark folder for the Google Workspace Status Dashboard.  Any outages or issues with Google applications can be viewed on this dashboard.
 

Technology Tips and FAQs
The technology department created a FAQ section on their website for common questions and issues regarding remote learning.  Check out the FAQs for remote learning:  Remote Learning and Technology FAQs for tips and tricks with Google Meet hosting issues and other issues that many users experienced recently.

To avoid common issues with student accounts, please encourage your students to fully shut down their school devices each night.  This will allow for updates to go through in Google and reduce common glitches and issues.  If your students are using personal devices, encourage them to check their Google Chrome settings to make sure their browsers are up to date and that they have their school account fully synced.
 

Calendar of Events
January 5      AMS ELA Teachers Readers’ Workshop w/ Kate Roberts    Zoom Meeting  8:00 - 3:00 
January 12    Grades K, 2, 3, 4 Writer’s Workshop w/ Gary Peterson        Zoom Meetings 90 min sessions  


Remote Learning Reference Links
APS Website - Blueprint for Reopening 2020-2021
Avon LearnPlatform - list of approved software/subscriptions/resources
Remote Learning Resources for Teachers and Staff - tutorials & helpful hints for remote learning
Remote Technical Training and Support form - request form for specific training & “how to”
Remote Learning Resource Request Form - request form for software or website approval    
Understanding Copyright - a quick teacher & student guide for creativity and copyright
Publishers Adapt Policies to Help Educators - publishers & requirements for recording read alouds
IT Ticket System - request form for hardware and software issues

Spotlight for December 1, 2020

Reading Survey 2020-21
Teachers who currently teach in grades K-3 will participate in the required State Department of Education Foundations of Reading Survey. The survey, which in 2014 became a biennial requirement for K-3 teachers, is designed to identify the strengths and weaknesses in reading instruction practices based on demonstrated knowledge. The results of the survey are formative and intended to provide school level information to inform professional development to strengthen reading instruction through the development of teacher practice goals and student centered learning objectives. Teachers required to take the survey will receive an email with more detailed information about a late spring administration of the Foundations of Reading Survey. More information about the Foundations of Reading Survey can be found on the CSDE website

LAS Links Assessments  
The LASLinks Assessment testing window opens January 4, 2021 and closes March 5, 2021. Within this time period, all English Learners (ELs) in grades K-12 will take an English language proficiency test that assesses their proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The assessment is used to inform instruction for ELs and determine the English language acquisition support needed.  To exit, the student must reach the state mandated requirements. This month the ESOL department will begin to plan for the safe and time efficient administration of this assessment, which will begin at the start of the window. During the next few weeks, the ESOL teachers and tutors will also be exploring the practice test with students and planning for student accommodations. We ask for your understanding and flexibility as ELs will need to miss classroom time to participate in this battery of assessments. 

Professional Development and Evaluation Committee 
The Professional Development and Evaluation Committee (PDEC) will be meeting on December 10th to begin planning for the January 15th and March 19th professional development days. Committee members have been asked to work with their administrative team and building colleagues to generate suggestions for possible professional development topics. These days are designed to advance the focus areas outlined in the Blueprint for Excellence and to provide some choice sessions that allow for individuals to further develop their knowledge or skill set in certain areas.  If you have any suggestions for topic areas, please reach out to one of your building PDEC members and just a reminder that these days are not intended for team or department planning.

Free Social and Emotional Learning Course Opportunity Specially Designed for Educators
The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligences, the CT State Department of Education, and several CT professional organizations are offering a free virtual SEL course to all CT school staff. The course, “Social and Emotional Learning in Times of Uncertainty and Stress: Research-Based Strategies”, was designed by Marc Brackett and is a self-paced course. All Avon staff members will be receiving an introductory email as your invitation to participate in this optional learning opportunity that promises to be beneficial professionally and personally as we all manage the added stress of the pandemic. Throughout the course, you'll learn about social and emotional learning, emotion science, strategies for helping ourselves and others manage their emotions, and how to be more culturally responsive. Each session, you will engage with readings, videos, reflections, and fillable documents where you can record your action plan for applying what you learn to your work and life. You can complete the course at a pace that works for you. You can expect to commit a little over 1 hour of work per session for a total of 10 hours. As long as you complete all the assessments and finish all course components by the final day of the course, you will be eligible to earn a certificate of completion for a non-credit course authorized by Yale University. The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence will be launching a new course starting December 8, 2020 - May 8, 2022.

Calendar of Events
12/3    PGS Grade 1 Writer’s Workshop Intro.                 Pine Grove School 8:30-3:30
12/3    K-5 ELA Vertical Team Meeting                            Zoom Meeting 3:30-4:30
12/7    TBS Team 5-2 & 5-3 Writer’s Workshop Intro.     Thompson Brook School 8:00-3:00
12/8    PGS Grades K & 4 Writer’s Workshop Intro.        Pine Grove School 8:30-3:30     
12/10  PGS Grade 1 Writer’s Workshop Day 2                Pine Grove School 8:30-11:30
12/10  PGS Grade 4  Writer’s Workshop Day 2               Pine Grove School 12:30-3:30
12/10  PDEC Meeting                                                      Zoom Meeting 3:30-4:30 
12/11  AHS ELA Teachers Readers’ Workshop
           w/ Kate Roberts                                                    Zoom Meeting 8:00-3:00
12/14  TBS Team 5-1 Writer’s Workshop Day 2              Thompson Brook School 8:00-11:00
12/14  TBS Teams 5-2 & 5-3 Writer’s Workshop Day 2   Thompson Brook School 12:00-3:00
12/15  PGS Grade K Writer’s Workshop Day 2                Pine Grove School 12:00-3:00

Remote Learning Reference Links

Spotlight for November 2, 2020

Curriculum Professional Development Council (CPDC)
The CPDC will convene for a short meeting on Monday, November 16 at 3:30 p.m. to hear presentations and make recommendations for new instructional materials and course proposals. As last year was a very abbreviated year in terms of CPDC meeting, Council members will remain the same for this school year.  

Annual State and National Student Assessments
In October, the Connecticut State Department of Education Performance Office reaffirmed the state’s commitment to using statewide assessments as a means to surveying student growth and areas of need as they seek to provide equitable educational experiences and opportunities for all Connecticut public school students. During the 2020-21 all statewide assessments will be administered, including to those students who are learning remotely. While specific guidelines will be provided for each assessment, remote students will be required to come into a school building to participate in state testing whenever possible. These assessments include the Kindergarten Inventory, Connecticut Physical Fitness Assessment, LAS Links English Language Proficiency Assessment, Connecticut Alternate Assessments, Next Generation Science Standards Assessment, Connecticut Smarter Balanced Assessments, and the Connecticut SAT School Day. More information about Connecticut assessment can be found on the Connecticut State Assessment Main Page.  

The National Center for Education has also announced they will be moving forward with a reduced administration of the congressionally mandated National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) assessment. A selection of Avon Middle School students in grade 8 will be assessed this year as part of this national assessment. Unlike Connecticut’s state assessments, NAEP will be administered if students are learning in person at the time of the assessment. The assessment will take place between January 25 - March 19, 2021, however the exact test date and student selection have not yet been provided to the district. 

Technology Resource Highlight
BoClips is one of the newest district-wide subscriptions that offers a large variety of educational video resources for classrooms. The company works with a number of partners to provide content for educational purposes including LearnZillion, Crash Course, PBS, TED Talks, TED-ED and Storyline Online to name a few. Visit BoClips.com and sign in with Google to start exploring the resource for you and your students. Resources can be easily shared with students through Google Classroom. In addition to having resources available for students, you will also find teacher training resources to enhance your own professional development.

Technology Work Order System
The new technology work order system allows the technicians the ability to accurately manage and track the work orders that are submitted by teachers and staff in the district. Please continue to use the work order system to submit your technology service requests. In addition to providing as much information as possible with regards to your technology issue, please accurately provide your classroom or office location as this information is critical when we have to engage in contact tracing across the district.

Google Meet Background Update
Users in the district, including students, are beginning to receive the latest feature of customized backgrounds for Google Meets. Since there is no way to block students’ abilities to change their background, you may want to have a conversation with your classes regarding the appropriate use of the tool. The following video shows you how to activate this feature once available on your account: Changing Backgrounds in Google Meets.  

Calendar of Events
November 4       PGS and Remote Grade 2 Writer’s          Pine Grove School    8:30 - 3:30
                           Workshop Introduction
November 5       PGS and Remote Grade 3 Writer’s          Pine Grove School    8:30 - 3:30
                           Workshop Introduction
November 10     Grade 8 Readers’ Workshop                    Zoom Meeting          8:00 - 3:00
                           with Kate Roberts
November 16     Curriculum Professional                           Zoom Meeting          3:30 - 4:15
                           Development Council

Remote Learning Reference Links


 

Spotlight for October 2, 2020


SEPTEMBER‌ ‌25th‌ ‌PROFESSIONAL‌ ‌DEVELOPMENT‌ ‌
Congratulations‌ ‌to‌ ‌those‌ ‌individuals‌ ‌who‌ ‌completed‌ ‌certification‌ ‌courses‌ ‌during‌ ‌last‌ ‌week’s‌ ‌professional‌ ‌development‌ ‌training.‌  ‌The‌ ‌district‌ ‌had‌ ‌over‌ ‌220‌ ‌staff‌ ‌members‌ ‌receive‌ ‌certification‌ ‌in‌ ‌Clever,‌ ‌Screencast-o-Matic,‌ ‌and‌ ‌EdPuzzle.‌  ‌In‌ ‌addition,‌ ‌17‌ ‌staff‌ ‌successfully‌ ‌completed‌ ‌the‌ ‌Google‌ ‌Certification‌ ‌Test.‌  ‌Currently‌ ‌the‌ ‌district‌ ‌has‌ ‌46‌ ‌Level‌ ‌1‌ ‌Google‌ ‌Certified‌ ‌Educators‌ ‌and‌ ‌12‌ ‌Level‌ ‌2‌ ‌Google‌ ‌Certified‌ ‌Educators.‌  ‌As‌ ‌we‌ ‌continue‌ ‌to‌ ‌build‌ ‌our‌ ‌individual,‌ ‌building,‌ ‌and‌ ‌district‌ ‌level‌ ‌capacities‌ ‌in‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌these‌ ‌areas,‌ ‌the‌ ‌following‌ ‌website‌ ‌was‌ ‌created‌ ‌to‌ ‌provide‌ ‌a‌ ‌list‌ ‌of‌ ‌those‌ ‌certified,‌ ‌who‌ ‌you‌ ‌might‌ ‌access‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌resource,‌ ‌as‌ ‌well‌ ‌as‌ ‌this‌ ‌year’s‌ ‌technology‌ ‌council‌ ‌members:‌ Google Certified Educator List‌.‌  ‌Thank‌ ‌you‌ ‌Jess‌ ‌Shaw‌ ‌(AHS),‌ ‌Jessica‌ ‌Ritacco‌ ‌(AMS),‌ ‌Brendan‌ ‌Lynch‌ ‌(TBS),‌ ‌Jon‌ ‌Moss‌ ‌(PGS),‌ ‌and‌ ‌Rebecca‌ ‌Kerrigan‌ ‌(RBS)‌ ‌for‌ ‌supporting‌ ‌your‌ ‌buildings‌ ‌as‌ ‌technology‌ ‌council‌ ‌representatives.‌ ‌
 ‌
As‌ ‌a‌ ‌follow-up‌ ‌to‌ ‌last‌ ‌week’s‌ ‌professional‌ ‌development,‌ ‌the‌ ‌district‌ ‌has‌ ‌compiled‌ ‌a‌ ‌website‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌training‌ ‌resources‌ ‌and‌ ‌recordings‌ ‌provided‌ ‌for‌ ‌some‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌sessions.‌  ‌Please‌ ‌visit‌ ‌the‌ ‌following‌ ‌website‌ ‌to‌ ‌view‌ ‌the‌ ‌presentations‌ ‌and‌ ‌find‌ ‌links‌ ‌for‌ ‌more‌ ‌self-paced‌ ‌training‌ ‌opportunities‌ ‌to‌ ‌continue‌ ‌your‌ ‌technology‌ ‌education‌ ‌and‌ ‌professional‌ ‌development:‌ ‌September 25th PD Resources‌.‌ ‌
 ‌
AIMSWEBPlus‌ ‌
In‌ ‌grades‌ ‌K-6,‌ ‌Avon‌ ‌has‌ ‌transitioned‌ ‌from‌ ‌using‌ ‌a‌ ‌collection‌ ‌of‌ ‌norm-referenced‌ ‌paper‌ ‌and‌ ‌pencil‌ ‌universal‌ ‌screenings‌ ‌and‌ ‌progress‌ ‌monitoring‌ ‌process‌ ‌tools‌ ‌to‌ ‌aimswebPlus.‌  ‌‌AimswebPlus‌ ‌is‌ ‌an‌ ‌online‌ ‌assessment,‌ ‌data‌ ‌management,‌ ‌and‌ ‌reporting‌ ‌system‌ ‌that‌ ‌provides‌ ‌national‌ ‌and‌ ‌local‌ ‌performance‌ ‌and‌ ‌growth‌ ‌norms‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌screening‌ ‌and‌ ‌progress‌ ‌monitoring‌ ‌of‌ ‌math‌ ‌and‌ ‌reading‌ ‌skills‌ ‌for‌ ‌all‌ ‌students.‌  ‌The‌ ‌integration‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌aimswebPlus‌ ‌screenings‌ ‌replaces‌ ‌many‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌past‌ ‌assessments.‌ ‌A‌ ‌full‌ ‌list‌ ‌of‌ ‌these‌ ‌changes‌ ‌can‌ ‌be‌ ‌found‌ ‌‌here‌.‌ ‌We’d‌ ‌like‌ ‌to‌ ‌thank‌ ‌our‌ ‌elementary‌ ‌administrators‌ ‌and‌ ‌their‌ ‌teachers‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌time‌ ‌and‌ ‌attention‌ ‌they‌ ‌are‌ ‌investing‌ ‌in‌ ‌learning‌ ‌how‌ ‌to‌ ‌use‌ ‌the‌ ‌system‌ ‌and‌ ‌their‌ ‌patience‌ ‌as‌ ‌we‌ ‌encounter‌ ‌and‌ ‌troubleshoot‌ ‌the‌ ‌integration‌ ‌of‌ ‌aimswebPlus‌ ‌with‌ ‌our‌ ‌current‌ ‌systems.‌ ‌ ‌
 ‌
WRITERS‌ ‌WORKSHOP‌ ‌LAUNCH‌ ‌

Last‌ ‌Friday,‌ ‌Writers‌ ‌Workshop‌ ‌was‌ ‌officially‌ ‌launched‌ ‌at‌ ‌Roaring‌ ‌Brook‌ ‌School.‌  ‌K-4‌ ‌teachers‌ ‌spent‌ ‌the‌ ‌day‌ ‌working‌ ‌with‌ ‌Gary‌ Peterson‌ ‌who‌ ‌has‌ ‌spent‌ ‌numerous‌ ‌years‌ ‌working‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌Reading‌ ‌and‌ ‌Writing‌ ‌Project‌ ‌Staff‌ ‌Developer‌ ‌across‌ ‌the‌ ‌country‌ ‌promoting‌ ‌the‌ ‌workshop‌ ‌model.‌  ‌The‌ ‌day‌ ‌focused‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌Workshop‌ ‌values,‌ ‌writing‌ ‌process,‌ ‌qualities‌ ‌of‌ ‌writing,‌ ‌writing‌ ‌units‌ ‌of‌ ‌study,‌ ‌and‌ ‌how‌ ‌those‌ ‌align‌ ‌with‌ ‌and‌ ‌support‌ ‌the‌ ‌District’s‌ ‌ELA‌ ‌vision‌ ‌and‌ ‌belief‌ ‌statements.‌  ‌Training‌ ‌in‌ ‌this‌ ‌area‌ ‌will‌ ‌continue‌ ‌at‌ ‌Roaring‌ ‌Brook‌ ‌and‌ ‌is‌ ‌being‌ ‌planned‌ ‌for‌ ‌Pine‌ ‌Grove‌ ‌and‌ ‌Thompson‌ ‌Brook.‌ ‌
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REMOTE‌ ‌LEARNING‌ ‌PLAN‌ ‌FOR‌ ‌INSTRUCTIONAL‌ ‌CONTINUITY‌ ‌
The‌ Remote Learning Plan for Instructional Continuity‌‌ ‌that‌ ‌was‌ ‌utilized‌ ‌during‌ ‌remote‌ ‌learning‌ ‌last‌ ‌spring‌ ‌has‌ ‌been‌ ‌revised‌ ‌for‌ ‌this‌ ‌school‌ ‌year.‌  ‌The‌ ‌plan‌ ‌outlines‌ ‌the‌ ‌goals‌ ‌and‌ ‌mutual‌ ‌expectations‌ ‌for‌ ‌teachers,‌ ‌students,‌ ‌and‌ ‌parents‌ ‌to‌ ‌support‌ ‌remote‌ ‌learning‌ ‌whether‌ ‌we‌ ‌are‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌hybrid‌ ‌or‌ ‌full‌ ‌remote‌ ‌learning‌ ‌environment.‌ ‌ ‌
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TEACHER‌ ‌EVALUATION‌ ‌&‌ ‌DEVELOPMENT‌ ‌MODEL‌ ‌
The‌ ‌Professional‌ ‌Development‌ ‌and‌ ‌Evaluation‌ ‌Committee‌ ‌met‌ ‌recently‌ ‌to‌ ‌review‌ ‌the‌ ‌State‌ ‌Department‌ ‌of‌ ‌Education's ‌Flexibilities‌ ‌for‌ ‌Implementing‌ ‌the‌ ‌CT‌ ‌Guidelines‌ ‌for‌ ‌Educator‌ ‌Evaluation‌ ‌2017‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌2020-2021‌ ‌school‌ ‌year‌ ‌and‌ ‌to‌ ‌update‌ ‌the‌ ‌current‌ ‌plan.‌  ‌Some‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌major‌ ‌changes‌ ‌are‌ ‌that‌ ‌the‌ ‌summative‌ ‌ratings‌ ‌are‌ ‌waived‌ ‌for‌ ‌this‌ ‌school‌ ‌year,‌ ‌there‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌decrease‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌number‌ ‌of‌ ‌formal‌ observations,‌ ‌and‌ ‌there‌ ‌is‌ ‌an‌ ‌option‌ ‌to‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌Student‌ ‌Learning‌ ‌Indicator‌ ‌(SLO)‌ ‌that‌ ‌is‌ ‌focused‌ ‌on‌ ‌social‌ ‌emotional‌ ‌learning,‌ ‌student‌ ‌engagement,‌ ‌and/or‌ ‌family‌ ‌engagement.‌  ‌Teachers‌ ‌will‌ ‌still‌ ‌be‌ ‌required‌ ‌to‌ ‌set‌ ‌goals‌ ‌and‌ ‌complete‌ ‌mid-year‌ ‌and‌ ‌end‌ ‌of‌ ‌year‌ ‌updates/reflections‌ ‌as‌ ‌done‌ ‌in‌ ‌previous‌ ‌years.‌  ‌Building‌ ‌administration‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌sharing‌ ‌more‌ ‌detailed‌ ‌information‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌near‌ ‌future.‌  ‌The‌ ‌complete‌ ‌document‌ ‌can‌ ‌be‌ ‌accessed‌ ‌‌here.‌ ‌ ‌
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SEL‌ ‌STANDARDS‌ ‌
One‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌outcomes‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌districtwide‌ ‌SEL‌ ‌Workgroup,‌ ‌launched‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spring‌ ‌of‌ ‌2019,‌ ‌was‌ ‌the‌ ‌creation‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Avon Public School Social Emotional Learning Standards‌.‌ ‌A‌ ‌PK-12‌ ‌subset‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌SEL‌ ‌Workgroup‌ ‌reviewed‌ ‌a‌ ‌series‌ ‌of‌ ‌state‌ ‌and‌ ‌national‌ benchmarks/standards‌ ‌and‌ ‌crafted‌ ‌Avon’s‌ ‌social‌ ‌emotional‌ ‌learning‌ ‌standards‌ ‌based‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌Connecticut‌ ‌K-3‌ ‌Social,‌ ‌Emotional,‌ ‌Intellectual‌ ‌Habits‌ ‌Framework‌ ‌and‌ ‌Metro‌ ‌Nashville‌ ‌Public‌ ‌Schools‌ ‌Social‌ ‌Emotional‌ ‌Learning‌ ‌Program.‌ These‌ ‌standards‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌referenced‌ ‌and‌ ‌used‌ ‌moving‌ ‌forward‌ ‌as‌ ‌they‌ ‌are‌ ‌incorporated‌ ‌into‌ ‌the‌ ‌units‌ ‌of‌ ‌study,‌ ‌where‌ ‌appropriate,‌ ‌across‌ ‌the‌ ‌various‌ ‌disciplines.‌  ‌They‌ ‌can‌ ‌also‌ ‌be‌ ‌used‌ ‌as‌ ‌part‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Teacher‌ ‌Evaluation‌ ‌and‌ ‌Development‌ ‌Model‌ ‌if‌ ‌one‌ ‌chooses‌ ‌to‌ ‌create‌ ‌an‌ ‌SLO‌ ‌related‌ ‌to‌ ‌social‌ ‌emotional‌ ‌learning.‌ ‌
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Calendar‌ ‌of‌ ‌Events‌ ‌
❖October‌ ‌9‌        Gr.‌ ‌7-8‌ ‌Readers’‌ ‌Workshop‌ ‌w/‌ ‌Kate‌ ‌Roberts‌        Zoom‌ ‌Meeting‌   8:00‌ ‌-‌ ‌11:00‌ ‌

❖October‌ ‌9‌        Gr.‌ ‌6‌ ‌Readers’‌ ‌Workshop‌ ‌w/‌ ‌Kate‌ ‌Roberts‌           Zoom‌ ‌Meeting‌   12:00‌ ‌-‌ ‌3:00‌ ‌
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Remote‌ ‌Learning‌ ‌Reference‌ ‌Links‌ ‌
●  APS Website‌‌ ‌‌-‌ ‌Blueprint‌ ‌for‌ ‌Reopening‌ ‌2020-2021‌ ‌
●  Avon LearnPlatform‌‌ ‌-‌ ‌list‌ ‌of‌ ‌approved‌ ‌software/subscriptions/resources‌ ‌
●  Remote Learning Resources for Teachers and Staff ‌-‌ ‌tutorials‌ ‌&‌ ‌helpful‌ ‌hints‌ ‌for‌ ‌remote‌ ‌learning‌ ‌
●  Remote Technical Training and Support form ‌-‌ ‌request‌ ‌form‌ ‌for‌ ‌specific‌ ‌training‌ ‌&‌ ‌“how‌ ‌to”‌ ‌
●  Remote Learning Resource Request Form‌‌ ‌‌-‌ ‌request‌ ‌form‌ ‌for‌ ‌software‌ ‌or‌ ‌website‌ ‌approval‌ ‌
●  Understanding Copyright-‌ ‌a‌ ‌quick‌ ‌teacher‌ ‌&‌ ‌student‌ ‌guide‌ ‌for‌ ‌creativity‌ ‌and‌ ‌copyright‌ ‌
●  Publishers Adapt Policies to Help Educators‌‌ ‌-‌ ‌publishers‌ ‌&‌ ‌requirements‌ ‌for‌ ‌recording‌ ‌read‌ ‌alouds‌ ‌
●  IT Ticket System ‌-‌ ‌‌request‌ ‌form‌ ‌for‌ ‌hardware‌ ‌and‌ ‌software‌ ‌issues‌ ‌
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Spotlight for September 17, 2020

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OFFERINGS
Friday, September 25th is the first District Professional Development Day, which will run from 8:00AM - 3:00PM.  Based on feedback from staff, the buildings, and the Professional Development and Evaluation Committee (PDEC), the day will primarily focus on technology with the following exceptions.  Classroom teachers and administrators at RBS will be participating in the first full day of the Writers Workshop training; Preschool teachers and paraeducators will be trained in the Connecticut Documentation and Observation for Teaching System (CT DOTS); and a PMT Refresher Training for those individuals required to renew their certification for this school year.  The technology offers will be a combination of 90 minute sessions and three hour sessions led by both internal and external presenters in addition to self-paced modules for certain software programs.  There will be a blend of required and choice sessions.  Each participant is asked to select five (5) sessions of interest from the professional learning opportunities listed in the PD Catalog (which also includes the required trainings), by 8:00AM on Tuesday, September 22.  This information will be used to assign participants to their sessions.  

All teachers, paraeducators, intervention tutors, teaching assistants, and administrators need to submit the form linked below (including presenters).
Link to Professional Development Catalog for Certified Staff

Link to Professional Development Catalog for Non-Certified Staff

 

CLEVER
The Clever portal is now active for all staff and students as their homepage.  When you click on your home icon, you will need to sign in with Google to activate your portal.  This portal serves as a one stop shop for district applications utilized by staff and students on a daily basis.  Some applications will automatically sync your login information if you are rostered into a program through Clever.  Other applications such as World Book, library databases, SIRS Discoverer, and Learn 360, may ask for the school's generic login.  It will then remember this information for future access.  The following video will give you some information regarding this teacher/staff portal and how to add resources to your library.    Clever Teacher Training Video. .  Please remember to refer to the LearnPlatform to make sure it is an approved resource to use with our students' information.  A great application to try to add on your classroom page is Khan Academy.  Although it cannot be pushed out from the district level, teachers can add it to their classroom homepage for their students to use.  Please share this exciting news with your classes and tell them to click on their home icon in the upper left hand corner of their screen to access the portal.  In addition, there is a PD offering next Friday to become a certified Clever user.  The Avon Clever Portal link is:  https://clever.com/in/avon
 
GOOGLE ENTERPRISE
The district has purchased a license and is in the process of transitioning to a Google Enterprise for Education account for all users.  Google Enterprise provides users with premium features for the G Suite for Education platform.  Some of the premium features within the Enterprise account include the use of unlimited originality reports to foster authentic thinking as well as enhanced video collaboration tools for Google Meet such as blurred backgrounds, 7x7 grid view, and break rooms which should be available at the end of the month.

ASSESSMENT CALENDARS
The Avon Public Schools 2020-2021 Common Assessment Calendars: Elementary Assessment Calendar and Secondary Assessment Calendar are linked here for your reference.

ATTENDANCE REPORTING
The State of Connecticut now requires the district to report student enrollment and attendance on a monthly basis.  To assist with this reporting, the following attendance codes have been added to PowerSchool. RP: Remote Present; RAB: Remote Excused Absence; and RUAB: Remote Unexcused Absence.  Starting with attendance on Monday, September 21st, students that will be participating remotely either as a fully remote student or as a member of the remote learning cohort group for that day, will be pre-populated in PowerSchool as Remote Present.  The expectation will be that the teacher mark the student as Remote Absent if the student does not complete the requirement to be considered in attendance on that date.  The system will now allow teachers to modify attendance up to one day after the date in question.  It is critical that attendance is completed for all students.

Remote Learning Reference Links
APS Website - Blueprint for Reopening 2020-2021
Avon LearnPlatform - list of approved software/subscriptions/resources
Remote Learning Resources for Teachers and Staff - tutorials & helpful hints for remote learning
Remote Technical Training and Support form - request form for specific training & “how to”
Remote Learning Resource Request Form - request form for software or website approval    
Understanding Copyright - a quick teacher & student guide for creativity and copyright
Publishers Adapt Policies to Help Educators- publishers & requirements for recording read alouds
IT Ticket System - request form for hardware and software issues

Spotlight for September 4, 2020

TECHNOLOGY UPDATE
There are a few new additions and changes in terms of instructional technology for 2020-2021.  The following link will take you to a one page newsletter regarding these items including virtual office hour schedule with Elizabeth Ferry, a tutorial on how to split your screen to two displays, generic student account information  and other resources that will assist you with the use of technology for this school year:  Instructional Technology Update - September 4, 2020

Google Password Strengths - Google has made recent changes to their requirements for passwords.  Please note that if you reset a student’s password in Hapara, you must have at least eight characters, including a letter, a number and a symbol.  The technology department has received numerous tickets regarding student passwords reset through Hapara since they did not have the required set of characters. 

COPYRIGHT REMINDERS
Just a reminder to everyone to pay attention to copyright when posting assignments, articles, books, videos, or any other item that would be considered copyrighted material.

  • Do not post videos of others reading stories if they are not the author or publisher
  • Do not post or share lessons or documents from Teachers Pay Teachers if you do not have licenses for all of your students or colleagues
  • Pay close attention to any items that you are posting to Google Classroom that might be photocopies of articles or books, as they most likely are copyrighted material
  • Make sure that the images you use are approved for use and indicate the source of your images (use sites like Pixabay, Creative Commons, Youtube video - How to Use Google Images Without Copyright, etc.)

If a teacher would like to record themselves reading a book, they should refer to the following list of publishers and the requirements in order to do so: Publishers Adapt Policies to Help Educators.  Please note that any publisher listed with an asterisk (*) has updated their policies for the 2020-2021 school year.  As additional publishers update their policies this list will reflect those changes.  

When emailing the publishers the required information, please copy your building library media specialist on the email so they can keep a list of books requested.  If the publisher is not listed on the above link, please reach out to your librarian for further assistance with contacting the specific publisher.  Also, even though many publishers are asking to be tagged in social media posts, it is highly recommended by the district that we do not tag publishers on social media as this is not a requirement but a suggestion. Please use the following link to better understand copyright Understanding Copyright.

Reference Links

Spotlight for August 24, 2020

Welcome back!  Hope that everyone was able to find some time to rest and rejuvenate over the summer and that you are ready to embark on the new school year, whatever that may end up looking like as we move forward.  Listed below are a few updates as we begin the year.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
A Professional Development Schedule for this week has been developed to provide everyone with the necessary time to complete the mandated trainings; participate in grade level/department professional development sessions to discuss Google Classroom and Meet configurations and best practices, as well as computer connections for hybrid instruction; and to engage in curriculum mapping and lesson planning.  

Further training will be offered in the near future regarding new technology resources for the 2020-2021 school year.  For a sneak preview, please view the following website:  APS Technology PD 2020-2021.  We also encourage all staff to continue to visit the LearnPlatform to view the approved technology resources for the district:  Avon LearnPlatform.  As additional resources are requested and reviewed, the list will be updated. 

DISTRICT WEBSITE
Over the course of the summer the District website was updated.  Please check out the Blueprint for Reopening 2020-21 link where you will find the Superintendent’s Communications, Reopening Documents, School Schedules, Technology and Instructional Resources for students and parents, COVID-19 Resources, etc.  If you have any feedback, thoughts, or suggestions for additional resources please let us know so that we can continue to enhance the site. 

TECHNOLOGY UPDATE
Changes were made over the summer to the technology work order system and the copiers and printers.  All staff recently received emails regarding these changes.  The information can also be found in the following document:   IT Updates 2020-2021 (Work Order System and Printers).  Additionally, we just recently received notification that the chromebooks slated to be delivered mid-August will not arrive until late September.  We are currently revising the chromebook distribution plan and will provide further information to the buildings as soon as that is finalized.  And finally, the cables required to reconfigure some of the SmartBoards should be arriving today and then installation will begin.

GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS
At the June Board of Education meeting Policy 6146, Graduation Requirements, was revised and adopted.  The overall changes include an increase in the number of credits from 22.5 to 25 required to graduate; the addition of a 1.0 health and safety education credit; and a .5 mastery based learning credit which will provide various options and pathways (e.g., internship, service learning, work experience, community service, student designed independent study, college experience) for our students.  These graduation requirements begin with the class of 2023.  Click here to access the Board of Education  policies, where Policy 6146 is located

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